I look back at this weekend and recall all of the lost faces I saw. Their expressions, body language, and behavior was a true reality of what life on the streets looks like. I took a small but meaningful adventure around the streets of Corpus Christi. I deliberated found myself in unknown and rough neighborhoods. Even though it was noon on a Sunday, I did not care, but at one point, I rolled up the windows and grabbed a knife that an old boyfriend had given me for protection long go. I sat there at the longest street light ever with my Volkswagen, Colorado plates, aggressive Chihuahua, a Peach Green Tea Lemonade and my knife. I looked around at the abandoned homes, companies and homeless population. Even though I was used to seeing it in Denver this felt very different and very real. The boarder is close and you can tell there is a lot of drug use in the area. I am slightly obsessed with shows about the cartel, sex trafficking, and drug usage. I watch a lot of reality shows based on those subjects. My mind struggles to wrap around it and sitting there in person watching the drug users around you interact with each other is interesting.
I pulled over to watch these two men. I became fascinated with their bond and was wondering why they cared for each other the way they did. On a rough dirty street one man, slowly went to his knees. It was like he was in slow motion. He bent down almost looking like he was going to kiss the sidewalk, as a solider would do when returning home from a long leave. The man, placed his arms on the ground and seemed that he had enough control on his body until all of sudden his small weak arms gave out and he feel face first. The other man with him, a young man, continued to walk slowly ahead, but then realized that his friend was on the ground. He stopped, stood in front of a street sign and remained with no expression. After a while, he walked back to his friend and I am sure said some words of encouragement and his friend found the strength to stand on his two feet again. They walked very slowly into an alley and I wondered how long it was until he had his last fix and what was his type of drug. I wondered about their relationship. Why remain together? Was it for protection? Friendship? Or someone to help score drugs? I felt unknown about their lives. What was intriguing was that I noticed them very clearly, but they had no acknowledgment of anything around them. Life is not life for them. A day is not a day. An hour is not an hour. For us we look at those things as every day goals and determinations to accomplish the most in an hour and in a day. For them, time did not matter, food does not matter, for the only thing that matters, is drugs! I recently watched a show based in Louisville, Kentucky about the cartel taking over because of the highway and how it runs through the bad part of town. A simple highway that we love to ride and explore is used as a major transport of drugs destroying a city, lives and a population.
Before I moved here, I researched it like all others, and the first description of Corpus Christi is “Ghetto”. That word did not mean much to me, but I was curious. I continued my drive and saw another young man with very out of control hair, barley any clothes and angry. I could feel his anger from the distance. I made eye contact and even though it was just for a few second it felt like a very long time. We were the only two on this street filled with cargo ships, trash, and railroad tracks. I wanted to look deep into his eyes and into his soul, but I also did not want to look for very long. I am aware; I am out of place and did not want to create more attention to myself than what I already was. I moved along and completed a circle around the town. I did not explore every street, but will in time, for all streets everywhere provides an amazing history and knowledge about a town and population. I believe that you have to explore all of a town to know what you really live in. To explore bad neighborhoods is not about finding appreciation for your life, but it becomes an eye opener to what your life can be in a drop of a hat and the reality of other lives. We all say, we won’t do drugs, sell our bodies, or become homeless, but how do we really know that. I remember at times when I was very low on money, I sold my clothes, hats, and anything I could to afford food, but what was really stopping me from selling myself? I think when a person becomes insanely vulnerable all options look easy because when you have nothing, there is nothing else to care about.
I have been so lucky in my life to have an amazing support system, but once again, I think if that support system was not there, I would be homeless without a doubt. I would be eating out a trash can and looking at other options of income. I have an education, but without a support system how can you make it? You can work all the hours in the world, but sometimes that does not pay the bills. As the weekend concluded and I went back to my life on the beach I got ready for Monday. I knew I was going to have a busy day ahead of me and I mentally prepared. As I made my 15 mile drive to work, and over three highways into Flour Bluff Business District, I exited and saw a man standing on the highway. His legs were apart, arms spread high in the air and his head back. Immediately what caught my attention was his appearance. He was a very very good looking man. He had long matted hair, and his facial hair was long and had no attention for some time. His pants were green, and cut in places. He was wearing an old jacket with a hood. He just stood on the highway, with his face facing the sun. His smile was huge and just seemed to love the presence, the sun, and the moment in time. Even though, in all reality he was either coming down from something, or had just taken something and found serenity in that moment. Whatever the situation was he randomly brought a smile to my face.
As I passed him, I made the right hand turn into my work, parked my car unevenly and gathered my belongs. I looked in that direction and even though I knew I would not be able to see him, I whispered quietly into the warm muggy breeze, “good luck my happy friend”. I had wished him well and hopefully he had a safe day. It is not our place to judge or even to understand, but to acknowledge there is a problem in our states and to assist if we can. I don’t know yet how I can help, but I know for me, I want to help. I will find that right place to donate my time, for all types of time is valuable.
The song “Brothers Under The Bridge” by Bruce Springsteen seemed appropriate for this blog.